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Domestic air passenger traffic growth slows for four months in a row in September

Prachi Gupta
Domestic air traffic,air traffic growth, aviation news, DGCA, Jet Airways

Indian aviation sector continues to feel the slowdown blues with domestic air passenger traffic down for the fourth consecutive month in September, data from aviation watchdog DGCA showed. Amid a range of factors from the economic slowdown, lean travel season and declining capacity growth, the air passenger numbers fell from 11.79 million in August to 11.53 million passengers in September, as per DGCA data released on Thursday. Earlier, a Cleartrip official had told Financial Express Online that air traffic growth is expected to be in lower single digits this year. "Multiple reports had put the expected growth number between 15-18%. However, what we have seen so far is about 3%. It is because of lesser capacity expansion," Balu Ramachandran, Senior VP, Cleartrip, told the publication in an interview this week. 

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Further, as compared to last year, the domestic air passenger traffic witnessed a minuscule increase by just 1.18% as compared to September last year. "The numbers are disappointing. They have pulled down our projection (for 2018-19) 4-6 per cent. The good news is that we have managed to withstand the sad exit of Jet Airways and maintained a positive growth despite three months of negative or almost flat growth," The Indian Express quoted a DGCA official as saying. The exit of Naresh Goyal-founded Jet Airways, however, is still haunting the domestic aviation landscape as even when other prominent carriers including IndiGo, SpiceJet, Vistara and GoAir moved quickly to fill the gap created by Jet Airways, "This year, whatever capacity has been increased has gone to replace Jet Airways capacity. The passenger growth is in line with the capacity increase this year," Balu Ramachandran said. 

Meanwhile, budget carrier IndiGo continues to rule the market with it carrying nearly one in every two passengers. According to DGCA data, its market share now stands at 48.2% while in August it was at 47%.